The small-budget independent film On the Downlow, directed by Tadeo Garcia and released in 2004, represents the star-crossed romance between two male Latino members of a Chicago street gang. I argue that the film provides a critique of the city's racialized organization of space, as well as a critique of the paradoxical hypermasculine homosociality of the street gang itself. The film's protagonist must decide whether he will remain loyal to his gang or loyal to his lover — but he is incapable of embracing a queer identity. Since the film dramatizes a failed and tragic love affair, I suggest that it provides an important counternarrative to the mainstream gay movement's celebration of well-adjusted, happy homosexuals.
1 April 2014
Siobhan B Somerville
Martin F. Manalansan
Bill Johnson González; The Limits of Desire: On the Downlow and Queer Chicago Film. GLQ 1 April 2014; 20 (1-2): 13–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-2370351
Download citation file: